With tonight's 2-1 victory over the Padres, the Rockies won a baseball game in which they scored less than five runs for the first time since May 24th. Why can I tell you? Sometimes it rains in the Sahara Desert.
Franklin Morales, who somehow hasn't lost a game since May 25th, was the hero in this one as he tossed 5.2 innings of one run baseball. He wasn't very efficient (it took him 98 pitches to come up just short of six innings), and it was against the listless Padres lineup, but one run in 5.2 innings at Coors Field is one runs in 5.2 innings at Coors Field and the Rockies will take it any way they can get it.
Perhaps we shouldn't have been so shocked by this outing from Morales however. After tonight's game, the much maligned lefty now has a career 3.67 ERA at Coors Field, about a run and a half lower than when he pitches everywhere else. It doesn't make sense, but few things about Franklin Morales as a pitcher do, so it kind of works.
One of the most important moments in this game came in the top of the sixth inning after Morales walked Carlos Quentin to lead off the frame. Morales got Tommy Medica to hit a grounder towards short which Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu rapidly turned into a double play. It wasn't exactly highlight material, especially after the double play these two turned last week in Washington, but I'm sot sure most infields get two there.
That would prove really important, because Rene Rivera was the next man up and he took Morales out of the park to left with a solo shot that put the Padres on the board. With Rex Brothers, Adam Ottavino, and La Troy Hawkins pitching well in the seventh, eighth, and ninth, this was the inning that could have gotten out of control, and the double play absolutely killed it.
One of the big themes in this game was a failure to produce with runners in scoring position, as both teams went a combined 1-17 in those situations. If these two clubs didn't have such lousy records, this would have really been an edge of your seat type of affair.
Like the Padres, the Rockies got all of their offense via the long ball. The only difference is that Charlie Blackmon's third inning shot to right was a two-run bomb instead of a solo blast. Blackmon had the only multi hit effort of the game for the Rockies, as he also picked up a double in the first. In fact, Blackmon was also the only Rockies' player to record an extra base hit.
In the ninth inning, Seth Smith came in to pinch hit with two outs and nobody on and the Padres down 2-1. LaTroy Hawkins correctly stayed away from his power and kept his offerings outside, but Smith went with the pitch and hit a line drive the other way to left. Corey Dickerson very nearly made an excellent catch to end the game, but he rolled his wrist as he tried to secure the ball in his glove and it popped out. The trainers had to come out but thankfully Dickerson was able to stay in the game. Precautionary x-rays were taken shortly after the ninth and they came back negative.
Fortunately for the Rockies, that play didn't matter. Chris Denorfia came up next and flew out to Charlie Blackmon to end the game on the first pitch he saw.
The Rockies will try to win a series at Coors Field tomorrow afternoon for the first time since May 18th, but if you live in Colorado, you won't be able to see it because it won't be broadcasted on Root Sports. It will be interesting to see if this hurts Justin Morneau's chances at the All Star game, because with an off day Thursday, the Rockies won't have another chance to push his candidacy.
Games behind: 12.5
Games left: 71
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